Dear Friend of St. Margaret’s Hospital

Thank you for continuing to support our local charity by renewing your membership in the autumn. Now that the Epping Forest Unit and the Mental Health Unit are more accessible after Covid, we are able to use our funds to provide wards and departments with items, which the NHS budget can’t supply.  

Recently we have purchased equipment requested by occupational and physiotherapists of the Early Supported Discharge team on Beech Ward –  who help neurological patients towards recovery.

They told us that their team work with patients to improve upper limb movement after strokes, using electrical stimulation and mirror box therapy.  

Read more about this gift later in this letter – it will benefit a stream of stroke patients and help enormously towards their recoveries.  YOU HAVE HELPED US to provide the software which talks patients through the therapy routines needed for regular practice and stroke recovery. 

Computer software is also used for stroke therapy.  The therapists thanked the League of Friends for purchasing the Physio Tools software which creates ‘bespoke’ exercise therapy schemes for patients with neurological conditions. 

‘The aim is to provide them with the skill to increase the intensity of rehabilitation whilst under our care,  and also long-term following discharge’. Many patients are anxious to work independently as well as in their therapy sessions.  The combination of diagrams and photos on the Physio Tools program help them to complete the exercises correctly whilst in the hospital and at home after discharge.  YOU HAVE HELPED US to renew the subscription for another year.

HOWEVER – these are not the only items YOU HAVE HELPED to buy over the past year.  Here’s a list of requests made and gifts delivered recently: 

10 GRASP kits – these provide all the instructions and items required for patients in the Early Stroke Discharge Unit, both on the ward and in their own homes.  Occupational therapists on Beech Ward using the Grasp programme have seen improvements in strength, movement and quality of hand function for their patients.  £330

The Beech Ward Gardening Group has been a successful therapy for a long time now, and we have once again given financial support for items needed in the new season.  £400       

Beech Ward’s Speech and Language therapists support stroke recovery with a range of communication impairments.  With an iPad, patients can work through exercises which focus on their word finding, reading, writing and language comprehension.  The Friends have purchased two  items:

– CORE TWINKI MEMBERSHIP – an online database of pictures and resources which promote more independence for patients with severe communication impairments.   £53.88 for one year’s membership

– TACTUS ADVANCED LANGUAGE THERAPY – this is an app used on iPad which has been designed for stroke patients who are well on the road to recovery but still have difficulty with some skills. It promotes independent practice and aims to develop patients’ language skills at a higher level. £64.99

Beech Ward has also requested a year’s subscription for an Apple app called BRAIN HQ.   £79.99 

and a one off payment for another Apple app: VISUAL ATTENTION THERAPY.  £8

Both these apps have been approved with scientific research to be very effective in therapy.  

We have also renewed the subscription for PHYSIO TOOLS. £414

Therapists on Beech Ward’s Early Stroke Discharge Unit work on different methods to improve upper limb recovery, focusing on mirror box and electrical stimulation therapies.  They told us: ‘The principle of mirror therapy is that when looking into the mirror, the patient observes the reflection of the unaffected limb….this strong visual clue can be used to improve motor performance of the affected limb’.

Electrical stimulation can help to activate the damaged portions of the brain, providing intense stimulation…(which) engages neuroplasticity, the process the brain uses to rewire itself and heal from injuries like stroke.’ 

WITH YOUR HELP The Friends have purchased this equipment:

       *Saebostim Pro x 2 – £552 

       *Saebo Mirror Box x 3 – £73 – totalling £651

A formidable list of items shows how innovative the teams on Beech Ward are.  But YOU HAVE ALSO HELPED to provide the gift we make every year: festive cheer for the in-patient wards at Christmas.  In December 2022 it was our biggest Christmas present yet! 

Treasurer Jan Buckingham distributed £2,250 to the wards on the Epping Forest Unit and the Mental Health Unit.  This bought decorations,  Christmas cheer and gifts, especially welcomed by patients who were in hospital over the holiday period, some of whom had no family to visit them.                                                                  

THE FRIENDS OF ST. MARGARET’S could only make these purchases possible through the local support which you have already given – and we hope that the reports above help you to appreciate how important your contribution is.  We’ll continue to fundraise in the future as more requests are made.   And as more local people need the expertise of the therapists on Beech Ward – and of all their colleagues in the wards and departments in the Epping Forest and Mental Health Units on the St. Margaret’s site 

Local groups and clubs such as Epping Rotary also raise money for our charity.  

**The players of Epping Golf Club have recently gifted over £3,000 – a huge donation raised over the past year in various ways: a quiz night, a dinner dance, cake sales and coffee mornings, a Yuletide Away weekend!  

**Epping Rotary’s superb choir concert in November was a full house, and we have just received a £1,000 share of the financial result.  Thanks for all your efforts on St Margaret’s behalf – we work to make sure that your donations are well-spent.

Over the long years of giving helping St. Margaret’s wards, many local people have given personal support to the Friends’ fund-raising events.  This year we’re planning our popular SPRING LUNCH again.

We’re looking forward to welcoming many of you to the event in Theydon Bois Village Hall.  So – please come along on MARCH 18TH  between 11am and 2.30.  Enjoy coffee and cake or a light lunch and browse our stalls: bric-a-brac, jewellery, plants and cakes. Help us to raise the cash we’ll need to say ‘yes’ to future requests from the incredible teams at the Epping Forest and Mental Health Units on the St. Margaret’s site.

Thank you, and all best wishes from the committee of the Friends.

P.S. – we now have a new membership secretary.  If you have any queries about membership or your subscription,  contact:

Heather Gotting, h.gotting@gmail.com / 3 Hillcrest Way, Epping CM16 7AR / Tel:01992-578389 or 08804969845

In February 2023, we sent this newsletter to all Friends who make regular subscriptions, giving updates on how these and other donations have been spent.

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